Participants: Tom Mahood
General search area: Multiple areas from Park Road southwesterly to the northerly slopes of the freestanding hill northerly of Samuelson’s Rocks.
Rationale for searching this area:
This was something of a continuation of JT42, filling in gaps along the Serin cell tower 10.6 mile radius from Park Road towards the mouth of Smith Water Canyon. I also wanted to do a final check of the free standing hill northerly of Samuelson’s Rocks. I had been around it and on top of it, but never along the middle of its northerly slopes, which receive a strong signal from the Serin Drive cell tower.
Impressions of area and findings:
Travelling cross country between Park Road and the hill/Samuelson Rocks area, I was struck by the number of footprints I came across. Apparently this area gets considerable hiker traffic in the cooler times of year. I also noted that many shrubs, like the Acacias, lose their foliage in Winter, eliminating hiding places. What in Spring and Summer might be a field of shrubs blocking the view to the ground in Winter is bare and clear.
As I stated in JT42, the area between Park Road and the Quail Spring/Smith Water/Samuelson’s Rocks vicinity has been saturated by not only searchers but by casual cross country hikers.
At one point in my travels I reached the northerly summit of the free standing hill northerly of Samuelson’s Rocks. Looking southwest I could see the rugged slopes of Quail Mountain. Looking due west, I could see right into the month of Smith Water Canyon. Toward the north, Quail Wash flowed down toward the homes just beyond the limits of Joshua Tree National Park. I was looking at the entire playing field. I sat for a while, scanned the area with binoculars and thought about things. Knowing where we had been, where the original searchers had been and what we now know the cell phone ping means, I started to develop some new ideas for the next phase in searching. And one way or another, I suspect it will be the final phase. We’ll either find Bill or he’s not findable.
GPS mileage for this trip: 7.0 miles
Cumulative GPS mileage to date: 578.2 miles